Thousands of protesters create gigantic NO sign in march against Heathrow expansion
31.5.2008 (Daily Mail)
Three thousand protesters converged on Heathrow today to say no to airport expansion
– and nearly all of them joined together to form a massive NO sign visible from
Organisers had hoped today’s demonstration would be the biggest-ever against
the further expansion of
– from all over Britain.
The demonstrators walked from Hatton Cross to Sipson – the village that will
be lost if plans for a third runway at Heathrow go ahead.
Sipson, set to be destroyed by airport expansion
At Sipson, 2,600 protesters gathered in a field to form a huge ‘NO’ sign that
can be seen from the passenger planes stacking around the giant airport to land.
Politicians and environmentalists [addressed] the crowds and bands were scheduled
to play later.
Organiser Tamsin Omond said earlier: ‘We are expecting thousands to attend –
the weather is good so fingers crossed.’
Protesters spoke of the reasons they had made the journey to west
Martin Newell, 40, from Hackney, East London, said: ‘I’m a Catholic priest and
God created this world. To destroy it is blasphemy.’
Lewis Jones, 21, from Roehampton, South London, said: ‘I’m here just because
the public need to know. Economic expansion and growth is all very well for those making the money but
the damage it’s doing to the planet is not acceptable.’
Student Camille Barton, 19, from North
and what she’s done has been a real inspiration for me.”
British Transport Police said the airport’s eastern and northern perimeter roads
would be closed during the march and so would one lane of the A4 eastbound.
Greenpeace chief John Sauven, who joined the march, said: “There is no need whatsoever
for a third runway. If everybody took trains to
“Now it’s about the campaign gathering weight before the MPs break for summer
– and it is. We’ve had support from the Archbishop of Canterbury and all of the
He said he expected the atmosphere to be very different from last year’s Climate
Camp demonstrations, which saw violent clashes between police and protesters.
of Heathrow airport at Hatton Cross, West London
Mr Sauven said: ‘This is a peaceful protest. It’s a real carnival atmosphere
with children and local communities getting involved.’
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, sent a message of support to
Read out before protestors marched from Hatton Cross station, it said: ‘Christians,
like all people of faith, believe that human beings are on Earth as stewards of
God’s creation. As such we have a responsibility, both to God and to generations
to come, to ensure that this remains a sustainable world.
‘Concern for our environment is a clear imperative arising from the respect we
owe to creation and to each other.’
Campaigners rally against Heathrow expansion
Thousands of campaigners opposed to Heathrow’s proposed third runway marched
in protest against the airport’s expansion on Saturday.
A coalition of local residents and environmentalists marched from Hatton Cross
underground station in west London to the village of Sipson, where some 700 houses
will be razed if the expansion goes ahead.
“A stream of people have been arriving since this morning”, Tamsin Omond, a member
of the “Plane Stupid” group, told Reuters. The Metropolitan Police estimated 3,000
were at the rally.
In February, the “Plane Stupid” group scaled the roof of parliament to mark the
end of public consultation on a third runway. It has threatened further direct
action against government plans to expand Heathrow.
Prior to the start of the “Make a NOise Carnival”, letters of support from Archbishop
of Canterbury Rowan Williams and London Mayor Boris Johnson were read out opposing
Campaigners plan to spell out a giant human “No” which they say will be visible
from the air as MPs, local council leaders and environmentalists address the rally.
The government, business leaders and airport operator BAA say the world’s busiest
international airport must expand or lose out to continental rivals, damaging
the country’s economy.
But campaigners say expansion of British aviation makes a mockery of government
plans to cut carbon emissions.
“The size of the runway is like putting Gatwick next to Heathrow and would emit
the same amount of annual carbon dioxide emissions that Kenya does,” said Omond.
The public consultation over the expansion ended in February. The government
is expected to make a final decision later this summer.